MATTOON — Shelby County Junior Legion Post 289/611/725 stumbled out of the starting gate Tuesday at the Mattoon Firecracker Classic, and early mistakes proved to be the difference. Shelby County's four first-inning errors contributed to a five-run opening frame from Moultrie-Douglas County in an eventual 8-2 defeat."I think it was a lot of nerves," Shelby County coach Jim Hutchinson said. "I've got a young team, a lot of kids that haven't played here before."The first-game jitters plagued Shelby County for the better part of six innings, closing with five total errors and eight walks by the pitching staff. The wooden bats were also hard to handle, as Shelby County closed with five hits, two coming in the sixth and final inning."We're not used to playing with wooden bats," Hutchinson said. "We played in one tournament earlier this year, played a doubleheader with them Saturday. It's just the mentality of getting used to playing with the wooden bats." Shelby County left two runners stranded to start the game, but leaving runners on the bags wouldn't be a problem for the opposition. Trevor Moore opened the game with a walk to Daltin Hoel, who reached second of a throwing error from Moore in an attempt to pick off the baserunner.Tommy Watson sent Hoel to third on a bunt single before Nick Bates plated the first Moultrie-Douglas run when a fly ball to right missed a Shelby County glove and fell harmlessly to the field. Zach Bates added a pair with a bases-loaded single to left three batters later to make it a 3-0 game. The final two runs of the first inning were scored off two more Shelby County errors."We always have one bad inning, this time it just had to be the start of the game," Hutchinson said. "That's the difference in the ballgame, they scored right off the bat."The lead was stretched to seven in the third. Moore walked three consecutive batters after getting Griffin Day to ground out to shortstop, closing his day on the hill after allowing six hits over 2.1 innings with two strikeouts and five walks.Nic Hutchinson hit Nick Bates on the first pitch of his relief duty to score a run, and Clayton Turner made it 7-0 with a sacrifice fly to center field.The tables turned on Moultrie-Douglas in the sixth, when Shelby County scored two utilizing a pair of errors. Tristan Warner brought Dylan Ohnesorge home on a ground ball to second that was fumbled and late to first. Trevor Easton sent a ground ball right back to second one batter later, where Dylan Hart again struggled to make the play for Moultrie-Douglas and Jacob Kramer crossed home plate.Held to three hits through the first five innings, Shelby County showed signs of life late, a trait coach Hutchinson said is not foreign to his strong-willed club."This team won't give up," he said. "They've been battling all year. We've had a couple of games where we've been down big and they've come back to make a ballgame out of it, surprised some people. I'll give them credit."Moultrie-Douglas ended the game in the next at-bat when Hart laid down a short grounder that induced a home-plate collision between Luke Armstrong and Shelby County's Kramer. The impact knocked the ball free of Kramer in his attempt to protect the plate for the 8-2 win.Shelby County looked for redemption in the second game of the day against Danville Junior Legion Post 210, but fell victim again to slow start.Danville opened up a 2-0 lead after the first inning, tacking on four more in the fourth en route to a 6-0 win.Shelby County closed with three hits in the second game, a single from Moore and two from Warner.After starting 0-2, Shelby County will look to regroup today against another pair of solid opponents in Rantoul and Macon County. The Rantoul game is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Lake Land College and Macon County will start at 1:15 p.m. at Mattoon High School.
Cardinals fly by Blackhawks 16-0
The frustrations from a tough 7-6 loss by North Clay to South Central Tuesday were relieved on the field Wednesday, as the Cardinals blasted the Sandoval Blackhawks 16-0 in five innings.
Czachorski: My own field of dreams
A few weeks ago, I sat behind the backstop at Evergreen Park, watching St. Anthony and South Central play baseball and taking photos when I overheard a conversation.
It was a few seven- or eight-year-old kids, just talking about the game in front of them, nearly gushing over some of their favorite players on St. Anthony.
Green settling into Whitecaps rotation
Since inking his pro deal, Effingham and University of Louisville alum Chad Green has donned a number of different jerseys.
In just over a year, Green's played for the Gulf Coast League Tigers, the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the West Michigan Whitecaps and, even just for a day or two, the Detroit Tigers.
Windsor/Stew-Stras combines for five-inning no-hitter
The second inning was good to Windsor/Stew-Stras again.
The Blue Devils scored 17 runs in the second inning of their 19-7 win against Cumberland on Tuesday, then scored 10 more in the same frame of a 16-0 rout of Ramsey on Wednesday, all while being shut out in the first inning of both games.
Altamont downs Charleston 6-2
At least it’s the last year of the Ohnesorges for Altamont’s opponents.
That’s the sister duo of Madison and Lauren that have been top athletes at Altamont High School. The pair produced once again in a 6-2 win over Charleston at Karch Field.
Pitcher's duel: Gardewine leads St. Anthony over Teutopolis 1-0
Zach Gardewine gripped the game ball tightly in his right hand and smiled.
It’s not every day a pitcher shuts out the loaded Teutopolis lineup and he knew it. Gardewine became the first player to blank the Wooden Shoes, in St. Anthony’s 1-0 win on Tuesday, since Dieterich duo Tanner Traub and Jake Bohnhoff on March 22, 2013.
Ziegler's choice an easy one
Lake Land College’s Grace Ziegler had a choice after her two years playing were up.
The Altamont alumna basically whittled her options down to this: continue to play basketball collegiately at a four-year institution, or transfer to a four-year institution to have a traditional college student experience.
Vonderheide, W/SS win at Charleston 12-0
Christian Vonderheide had the luxury of choosing which was better.
It was either the grand slam, or a complete game shutout thrown by the right hander.
“They are both pretty equal,” Vonderheide said. “Pitching is more of my thing. The grand slam I got lucky. I swung hard, and I was lucky enough for it to go over the fence."
The win could be more important as Windsor/Stew-Stras pounded a 12-0 win over Charleston at CHS Field.
Czachorski: Time to catch Cup fever
I woke up early Friday morning and did something I never do these days -- I flipped on SportsCenter.
It was the top of the 7 a.m. hour, and unshockingly, ESPN led with discussion of the playoffs.
What left me flabbergasted was they were leading with the NHL playoffs, as I was truly unaware ESPN remembered that hockey was a sport.
Indians' bats too much for Eagles
An 11 a.m. start on Good Friday wasn't too early for Altamont, as the Indians pushed 10 across in the first frame and bested Newton 16-1 in five innings.
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